Even when I am really fit I will never be one of the best runners. You get the elite and then you get us regular runners.
I am playing in a Jazz Band and whereas I blend in OK I will never be one of the best Jazz clarinet players out there. (By the way, come and listen to us at the Chd Jazz Fest – ask me about tickets!)
In my job as CTO of a software development company I am a decent manager, but I am not the visionary, neither the charismatic leader, rather the guy who through sweat and persistence sometimes accomplishes something, but many times fail to see what is important.
And so I can go on. I am a pretty good squash player, a pretty bad tennis player, a not-too-bad dad, a not-too-good husband, endlessly mediocre, never brilliant, never excellent.
But a few days ago I read something that got my attention: “And I will show you a still more excellent way:” (1 Corinthians 12-13 in the Bible on my phone)
Excellent! Sounds good so far. Then it continued:
“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.”
That noisy gong and clanging cymbal got to me.
This was written about 2000 years ago and it still has the ring of truth to it. For me it meant something like:
If I could be the smartest, fastest, most fluent flutist, futurist, influencer, sun-of-a-gun, runner, whatever, and I have no LOVE… Then. I. am. nothing.
Even if I sacrifice all and it is not out of LOVE, then it is worth zilch.
And if I thought about this love as the airy fairy, poetry and flowers, kiss and hold hands kind of love then the next part put that right immediately.
“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
And I saw clearly the stephan who is not patient, but always in a hurry, not kind, but too busy to stop. The Stephan who is many times rude and wants his own way and is irritable. Etc. etc. If I thought I was pretty decent before, I now realized I am NOTHING.
Even though this excellence is too excellent for me and far out of the reach of my own will-power, I have a found a faithful Friend who is able to miraculously transform me into someone better than I am naturally. He says: If you remain in me you will be able. He pours out His love (which he proved with a loving sacrifice of himself) into my heart and enables me too to love. However imperfect my version of this love is, it is still the only excellent way.
Keep running (and loving)